Stellar cast celebrates Eliot

Published November 24, 2008

Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter and leading actors Dame Eileen Atkins, Charles Dance, Edward Fox, Pam Ferris, Dominic West and Rory Kinnear are among those lined up to appear in the Donmar Warehouse’s T S Eliot festival.

The festival, which opens tomorrow with the press night of The Family Reunion, includes a series of rehearsed readings of Eliot’s plays and poetry, and runs until 17 January.

Atkins (The Sea at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, The Female Of The Species at the Vaudeville theatre), Dance (Shadowlands at the Wyndham’s theatre) and Fox (Legal Fictions at the Savoy theatre) join playwright and actor Pinter to read Eliot’s verse in an evening directed by Josephine Hart on 1 December. Atkins and Fox return for a second evening of poetry on 5 January, joined by Dominic West.

Actor West, whose credits include As You Like It and The Voysey Inheritance on the London stage and US television series The Wire, also takes the lead in a rehearsed reading of Murder In The Cathedral on 2 December, Eliot’s dramatisation of the life and death of Thomas à Becket. Director Douglas Hodge has assembled a cast that also includes Ferris (The Entertainer at the Old Vic), 2008 Laurence Olivier Award-winner Kinnear (The Man Of Mode and The Revenger’s Tragedy at the National Theatre), Robert Glenister (Never So Good at the National), plus Adjoa Andoh, Anna Koval, Phyllis Logan, Nathantiel Martello-White, Jeff Rawle, Laura Rees, Hugh Ross, Sylvia Syms, Malcolm Sinclair and Julian Wadham.

Paul Rhys, whose stage credits include King Lear at the National Theatre and Hamlet at the Young Vic, will play Sir Henry Harcourt-Reilly in the second of the festival’s rehearsed readings, The Cocktail Party, on 17 December.

The festival ends with Katie Mitchell directing the already announced Stephen Dillane in the final rehearsed reading, Four Quartets, from 14 to 17 January.
 
The centrepiece of the festival is a full staging of Eliot’s The Family Reunion, with a cast that includes Samuel West, Penelope Wilton, Hattie Morahan, Gemma Jones and Una Stubbs. The Family Reunion opens on 25 November and plays until 10 January.

CB

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